Let’s review a few things. Consumers are already getting bored with 3D movies, seeing them more as a money-gouging gimmick than immersive tech, so 3DTV was a bust. Scratch that bell off your new TV list. And slick as they may look, none of us truly needs a curved television screen at home. Your TV screen has its own light source and the picture isn’t cinema-sized, so there’s no distorting pincushion effect on your TV picture. Take away that whistle.
Buying a television now is harder than buying a car, what with all the functions. But with Internet TV, gaming, Blu-ray and of course roughly six billion cable stations, it remains the primary mode of entertainment in the home. Gone are the days of the picture tube. Gone are the days of the plasma screen for that matter. If you’re in the market for a new one, here are a few worth checking out.
On the tech side, HDTV is 1080p — roughly 2 million pixels in the display — with 4K resolution (sometimes called ultra high definition) taking HDTV to 8 million pixels. These are now industry standards, so either is a safe buy. It takes a bit of getting used to, but unless you’re looking for a “tiny” TV (21 inches) it’s all you’re likely to find. If you’re not a tech nerd looking for all the toys, Metz offers the Solea Media R. Despite what you read, very little actual content that comes to our TVs matches their technological level, so a regular high-def unit will do the job. Beyond functional, reliable, stylish, and not garishly outsized (sizes range from 42 to 55 inches) the slimline design Soleas boast a pristine picture, upwards of a dozen connection options, an integrated digital recorder and, if so desired, can be operated by tablet or smartphone. And Metz TVs are made in Germany, which is always a good sign.
Visual sticklers will want to head to 4K however, where the mass-market leader, unsurprisingly, is Korean electronics giant Samsung. First introduced at CES in January, its new SUHD series (JS8000, JS9900, JS9800) range in size from 48 to 88 inches and promise picture quality like no other. The nano-crystal based technology improves colour purity and as a major force behind the Internet of Things, Samsung’s units automatically recognise Galaxy phones.
Bang & Olufsen is admittedly best known for its audio product, but the high end Dutch manufacturer is dipping its foot into 4K with the BeoVision Avant (55 to 85 inches). As much as B&O is recognised for its engineering, it’s also one of the most stylish electronics producers around. The BeoVision has a rotating, swivelling, sliding, motorised stand that helps follow the viewer wherever he or she may be and then folds into itself when not in use. Another upside here of course is that BeoVision comes loaded with B&O level sound.
There’s a vaguely sci fi element when talking about the 70-inch Sharp Aquos Beyond 4K unit. As yet unreleased, Sharp model showcased its Quattron screens at CES, with their fourth, yellow sub-pixel that effectively bumps image resolution to over 60 million pixels. Sharp is visually way ahead of its peers, but there’s a downside: there’s no content for 4K screens, there’s definitely none for this. The TVs feature a built-in converter to exploit the hardware, but we all know how great converted 3D films look, don’t we? But for anyone that wants to get ahead of the crowd, this is it.
One more thing: before you buy a unit, take a good look at the size of the space it will occupy. The general, often forgotten rule is you should be 1.5 to three times away from your screen based on its size. If you insist on a mammoth 65-inch TV, you need at least 2.5 metres — eight feet — between you and your set. Price tag aside, can you really afford that?